First Introduced: 2012
The Concept: The concept of faster frame rates has been adopted by two influential directors: James Cameron and Peter Jackson. Cameron announced that his follow-up to Avatar would use a 48 frames-per-second system. Jackson combines a high-frame rate with state-of-the-art 3D technology in his latest project, a modest little film (the first in a trilogy) called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
How It Works: This so-called High Frame Rate (HFR) technology has been boosted by the availability—and relatively cheap cost—of powerful digital movie cameras (that record images on disks rather than film). For Jackson, that meant using about 50 cameras (paired together, side by side, to create the 3D effect) for all the various units that have not finished shooting his latest epic.
Was It Successful? It will be interesting to see how audiences respond—the curious are reminded to check local listings to see what theaters will be showing the HFR version. A special screening last April left attendees divided: while many found the footage to be breathtakingly sharp and detailed, some found the effect to be distracting and even “fake.” According to the studio, audiences at more recent screenings have been more favorable to the technology.
Other Movies That Will Be Using This Technology: Right now: James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and a new adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm directed by part-time Gollum (and Hobbit 2nd unit director) Andy Serkis. This list will undoubtedly grow in months and years to come.